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If gold prices have gotten shellacked in 2013,
Barrick Gold's (
ABX) price action has been a whole different thing: year-to-date, shares of Barrick have almost gotten halved. And that's spurred selling from the institutions that own three quarters of the firm's outstanding shares. Ironically, declining prices contributed far more to the decreased market value of funds' ABX shares than selling did. But funds were still definitively net sellers of the $20 billion gold miner.
Barrick's positioning isn't unique among gold miners - the firm's huge scale just makes it a more conspicuous example. In a big way, miners are a leveraged play on the precious metal itself, and portfolio managers don't want exposure to either right now.
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